Tuesday, 5 May 2015

East Devon Business Forum: "Something to think about for the next council."

The current administration at East Devon put the episode of the East Devon Business Forum and its former head, Cllr Graham Brown, behind them, wishing to 'move on':
Futures Forum: The 'in-depth report' on the East Devon Business Forum will not happen
Futures Forum: The East Devon Business Forum TAFF >>> "The original scope was no longer relevant and there was a need to move on." >>> Or: "Bringing the council into disrepute"

There's quite a lot of history, however:
Futures Forum: A history of the East Devon Business Forum, part nine ....... "The local development framework would enable businesses to progress land allocation. It was agreed that the strategy should reflect the Forum’s views."
Futures Forum: A history of the East Devon Business Forum, part eight ...... "The lessons that should be learnt from the previously existing relationship between the former East Devon Business Forum and the Council..."
Futures Forum: A history of the East Devon Business Forum, part seven ..... "The local mafia": Conflicts of interest in East Devon

etc, etc...

The independent candidate for Feniton, Cllr Susie Bond, says in her latest blog entry that she's been regularly asked three questions on the doorstep when canvassing - on the attenuation tanks for the new housing developments, on the role of the East Devon Alliance and on the subject which was supposed to have gone away:

On the stump, Question 2:

Whatever happened to the Graham Brown affair?

The police investigation into former Councillor Graham Brown was closed with no action taken in 2014 as there was insufficient evidence to take the case forward. End of story.

My concern is not with the individual, but what process allowed anyone whose main source of income was building and development to be put in a position of such authority (he was for some time Chairman of the Local Development Framework panel, the committee set up to steer the Council towards adoption of a Local Plan, identifying possible sites for development and deciding on strategic allocations for development within the district), and who must have found it extremely difficult not to confuse the two roles. I have called on a number of occasions for an internal inquiry at EDDC to look into the lapse in decision-making which allowed this to happen. Each time I posed the question, I was met with the response that the matter was in the hands of the police and therefore any internal investigation would be inappropriate.

At the full Council meeting in February, and given that the police investigation had concluded, I asked the question again.

I was surprised on this occasion when my request for an internal inquiry was met with the minimal response, ‘Why?’, with no further explanation. In other words, whether the former councillor was charged with any misdemeanour or not, EDDC never had any intention of conducting a full internal inquiry.

Something to think about for the next council.

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